Author Topic: Rayton Solar Scam? - 3.1M Raised and climbing! 60% Cheaper? 25% more efficient?  (Read 25674 times)

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Offline LabSpokane

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Warning signs:

Bill Nye

Bill Nye

"Serial Entrepreneurs" in the SEC filing.

Request for a ridiculously low funding level ($50MM USD) as opposed to the huge expenses that will be necessary.

The very early cashout threshold of $7MM where the initial preferred shareholders sell and get $3MM. This is the biggest warning that the goal is to simply get raise money, not build a commercial technology. I will admit it is common for this type of fundraising.

A bizzare prototype of a finished cell in gelatin with wires bonded to it instead of what one would expect: a plain wafer bonded to a substrate as they propose.


 

Offline LabSpokane

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I'm curious what happened with the $2.8 million they raised in 2015.

https://www.fundable.com/rayton-solar-inc

2 years
10 people at about 150k/yr

It ran out quick.
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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I guess the Batteroo people didn't offer Bill Nye enough money.  Raytron seems no more technically sound nor commercially viable than Batteroo or Airing or any of the other unending succession of similar schemes.

Even as Solar World files for insolvency and my friends down the street at are refreshing their résumés despite massive government subsidy.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 02:55:51 am by Richard Crowley »
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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There are almost no limits to how cheap you can make them once you go flexible. A little loss of efficiency is acceptable.

Do you mean like the https://www.infinitypv.com/ cells?

https://youtu.be/ZE3zf2lGyt8?t=13m33s
 

Offline Marco

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Do you mean like the https://www.infinitypv.com/ cells?

No, I mean using 3M ultra barrier films with ultrathin Silicon or Perovskite and flexible conductors. 3M seems confident their polymer barrier will have decades worth of service life, but I don't know any organic PV materials which can say the same.
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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I'll also add that the direct-to-the-individual-investor pitch is really uncommon.  In fact, The SEC typically restricts such offerings to larger investors in order to protect small, individual investors from risky, catastrophic losses. How this particular venture got around this typical restriction is ... well. ... curious.
 

Offline thm_w

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The fact that the company is operating at a loss, or it has potential competitors isn't exactly a red flag. Its typical of most startups.
Of course, majority of individuals shouldn't be investing in startups as the risk is ridiculously high (1 in 10 succeed or so?). And all of Daves other points are valid.

If they end up with <10 million, its basically guaranteed nothing will happen and a bunch of people will be out of their money (it has indiegogo style flexible funding: "Raised of $500 - $50M goal"). Its sad that Bill is involved in this.

I'll also add that the direct-to-the-individual-investor pitch is really uncommon.  In fact, The SEC typically restricts such offerings to larger investors in order to protect small, individual investors from risky, catastrophic losses. How this particular venture got around this typical restriction is ... well. ... curious.

https://www.theverge.com/2016/5/16/11685832/sec-crowdfunding-rule-update-startups-investors
 

Offline uwezi

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I will not ask, who Bill Nye is... never heard of this guy.  :horse:

But, these people did not do their basic solar cell physics research!  :palm:

Silicon is a bad light absorber because of its indirect bandgap. In contrast to direct bandgap materials like GaAs or Cu(In,Ga)Se2 a 3µm thin silicon solar cell will only absorb about 1/3 of the incoming sun light. With this little absorption a 20+ % efficient solar cell is out of discussion.

http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/material-thickness
http://www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/design/solar-cell-parameters

At least thicknesses around 30 µm would be needed, which in turn are most likely not achievable with the described exfoliation technique, which otherwise is known under the name SmartCut in the semiconductor community.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0927024894900086
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_cut

They just copied their idea from a book (nothing wrong with that, but they should have read the whole paragraph):
https://books.google.se/books?id=TpZo_wEeJe0C&lpg=PA110&ots=_9uMHQgDAC&dq=silicon%20smartcut%20solar%20cell&hl=sv&pg=PA110#v=onepage&q=silicon%20smartcut%20solar%20cell&f=false

and one last link to a report highlighting the problem:
http://www.nanophotonicseurope.org/index.php/component/docman/doc_download/8-glunz-photonics-for-high-efficiency-crystalline-silicon-solar-cells
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 10:15:35 am by uwezi »
 
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Offline LabSpokane

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The fact that the company is operating at a loss, or it has potential competitors isn't exactly a red flag. Its typical of most startups.
Of course, majority of individuals shouldn't be investing in startups as the risk is ridiculously high (1 in 10 succeed or so?). And all of Daves other points are valid.

If they end up with <10 million, its basically guaranteed nothing will happen and a bunch of people will be out of their money (it has indiegogo style flexible funding: "Raised of $500 - $50M goal"). Its sad that Bill is involved in this.

I'll also add that the direct-to-the-individual-investor pitch is really uncommon.  In fact, The SEC typically restricts such offerings to larger investors in order to protect small, individual investors from risky, catastrophic losses. How this particular venture got around this typical restriction is ... well. ... curious.

https://www.theverge.com/2016/5/16/11685832/sec-crowdfunding-rule-update-startups-investors

If Bill Nye doesn't know what he's pitching, he deserves his reputation. His punishment should be to invest all the money he has received from the Planetary Society into this venture. 

That SEC change good and terrible all at once.  Thanks for posting that.  :-+ I felt it was unfair for small investors to be completely restricted from becoming preferred shareholders through early investment.  What's unclear to me is if any of the $2000 investors will receive preferred status (very doubtful) and early cashout privileges like the big kids, or if they will merely be fleeced as suckers (most likely scenario). 
 

Online EEVblog

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« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 10:57:55 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline JohnG

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Make it flexible and ditch the aluminium and glass completely. In that respect thinning the silicon is an important step. Also Elon is kinda right, it really needs to be an integrated solution with the roofing to really get the full potential cost savings (since you won't be mounting a sturdy panel raised above the roofing).

Not a good idea to mount solar directly on the roof.  The panels are more efficient when they are cool.  Having a gap between the panel and the roof helps with airflow.  That gap lets you use mount microinverters which is a nice alternative to using an entire home inverter that has problems with multiple arrays facing different directions or when some panels are in the shade throughout the day.  You can also get statistics on each panel individually when using microinverters so you can tell when a single panel is having problems.

The Glass protects the solar cells from being destroyed from minor impacts from leaves, nuts, twigs, bird poop, and meteors.  Remember the video that Dave created regarding a meteor impact on his panel?  It still worked but I doubt it would have if it didn't have the protective glass layer.

Having paid $11k to replace an asphalt shingle roof with another asphalt shingle roof with an estimated "25 year" life, but which will be considerably degraded in 25 years, a tile roof that generated a lot of electricity would be worth 2-3x that much to me. Note that a metal or tile roof or would have cost me $18k-$25k. Not to mention that there is a good chance that it will still be generating considerable power in 25 years, and if it is still functioning as a roof, that's icing on the cake.

John
 

Offline mdszy

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A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

That article definitely rips them apart! I like it!

To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.
 

Offline cengland0

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Having paid $11k to replace an asphalt shingle roof with another asphalt shingle roof with an estimated "25 year" life, but which will be considerably degraded in 25 years, a tile roof that generated a lot of electricity would be worth 2-3x that much to me. Note that a metal or tile roof or would have cost me $18k-$25k. Not to mention that there is a good chance that it will still be generating considerable power in 25 years, and if it is still functioning as a roof, that's icing on the cake.
Not sure what you're trying to say here.   You cannot replace a roof with paper thin solar cells so you'll still need to have some kind of roof before you install solar on it.  Musk's vision of having the two combined are independent of the issue regarding the video Dave posted.
 

Online EEVblog

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.
 
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Offline mdszy

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.
Gotcha, definitely makes sense.

Sent from my RS988 using Tapatalk

 

Offline LabSpokane

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A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

That's a great article. I see a fair bit of this type of self-dealing and share price manipulation. More very concerning warning signs...

Let's hope this doesn't go past $3MM in fleeced investors.
 

Offline uwezi

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A little loss of efficiency is acceptable.

Is it? You have to consider the system cost, the BOS! A little loss might be acceptable, but here (a) the company claims an incredible increase in efficiency and (b) they aim for 3 µm thin cells...
 

Offline Marco

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Is it? You have to consider the system cost, the BOS! A little loss might be acceptable, but here (a) the company claims an incredible increase in efficiency and (b) they aim for 3 µm thin cells...

It was a tangential discussion. This company is not making integrated PV/roofing solutions with flexible cells made with thin silicon and 3M barrier film.
 

Offline mtdoc

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.

I disagree with mdszy. I think that was an excellent video Dave.  Not over the top but just the right level of technical and practical critique base on the information at hand! :-+

A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

Yes, excellent article.  Unsurprising given today's financial system ethos.  That's what happens when there is no rule of law or ethics at the top levels of finance - it trickles down even to the low level finance environment.

I don't really blame Bill Nye for pitching this.  He's a science guy but also a public entertainer. He has to eat. The general technical idea is clearly feasible.  Bill is likely uninterested and unknowledgeable about the finance/business side of things.  However, if and when the sleazy underpinnings of this pitch come to light, I hope he learns a lesson about being more careful about who he lends his face to.


 

Offline LabSpokane

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To be honest, when I was watching your video, Dave, it seemed like you were... taking it easy on them, compared to some of your other "debunking" videos! You made fair points and all, but it definitely seems like a scam, even though you were insisting in the video that it wasn't.

That's why it's on the 2nd channel. I did no research on it nor put any real thought into it, I just hit record and talked.

I disagree with mdszy. I think that was an excellent video Dave.  Not over the top but just the right level of technical and practical critique base on the information at hand! :-+

A critical look at the offering, it looks really dodgy!

https://rationalexuberancesite.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/rayton-solar-a-story-about-bill-nye-particle-accelerators-and-greed/

Yes, excellent article.  Unsurprising given today's financial system ethos.  That's what happens when there is no rule of law or ethics at the top levels of finance - it trickles down even to the low level finance environment.

I don't really blame Bill Nye for pitching this.  He's a science guy but also a public entertainer. He has to eat. The general technical idea is clearly feasible.  Bill is likely uninterested and unknowledgeable about the finance/business side of things.  However, if and when the sleazy underpinnings of this pitch come to light, I hope he learns a lesson about being more careful about who he lends his face to.

I have to disagree on Bill Nye's culpability. He is endorsing as a technical professional, "science guy" (really a mechanical engineer) and therefore implies a substantial level of technical vetting.

I think too many cloud their vision of Nye's behavior with childhood nostalgia and give him a wholly undeserved free pass.
 

Offline mdszy

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I think too many cloud their vision of Nye's behavior with childhood nostalgia and give him a wholly undeserved free pass.

Case in point, the terrible trainwreck that is his Netflix show...
 

Offline Marco

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I forgive him, naivety/stupidity is not a sin. The problem is the news media portraying him as something he's not, he's an actor ... they are supposed to be journalists.
 

Offline mtdoc

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I forgive him, naivety/stupidity is not a sin. The problem is the news media portraying him as something he's not, he's an actor ... they are supposed to be journalists.

Exactly. 
 

Offline Jr460

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He, Bill, started out on a show called "Almost Live" in Seattle.  He did the Science Guy act among others, like Speed Walker.   A superhero that fought crime while observing the rules of the the International Race Walking Commission.
 

 

Offline LabSpokane

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I forgive him, naivety/stupidity is not a sin. The problem is the news media portraying him as something he's not, he's an actor ... they are supposed to be journalists.

Mmmkay. I prefer my mechanical engineers to be intelligent, educated and street smart. It's even better when they don't claim false credentials.
 
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